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Loading 9mm 147’s ...What’s gone wrong?

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Measure the dia of the pulled bullets, particularly at the base.  You likely will be swagging them down, and certainly will with the FCD.  When sized back down with the FCD, neck tension will also be reduced as the brass has some elasticity and lead none.  Try it, bullets will fall out easy with one swing of the puller and measure undersized. 

 

Pick a bullet that allows a shallower seating depth at a proper OAL.  Use an expander, not just a flare, of the correct depth and dia to expand the case properly so the bullet base does not have to.  Plated/coated can't be treated like much harder jacketed.  Cull the headstamps that cause excessive bulging. 

 

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Measure the dia of the pulled bullets, particularly at the base.  You likely will be swagging them down, and certainly will with the FCD.  When sized back down with the FCD, neck tension will also be reduced as the brass has some elasticity and lead none.  Try it, bullets will fall out easy with one swing of the puller and measure undersized. 
 
Pick a bullet that allows a shallower seating depth at a proper OAL.  Use an expander, not just a flare, of the correct depth and dia to expand the case properly so the bullet base does not have to.  Plated/coated can't be treated like much harder jacketed.  Cull the headstamps that cause excessive bulging. 
 



Have you personally experienced this? Sincerely asking.

I don’t load plated or lead any longer, but I did. And I never found that to be true, reference the neck tension and bullet puller finding.

YMMV


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Just now, iflyskyhigh said:

 

 


Have you personally experienced this? Sincerely asking.

I don’t load plated or lead any longer, but I did. And I never found that to be true, reference the neck tension and bullet puller finding.

YMMV


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Absolutely.  I load Precision coated 124s and some 147s in .358 dia.   With some brass, like GFL as an example, case bulges from expansion were the norm.  Just for the hell of it I ran some through an FCD I had.  Bulge cleaned up.  Pulled bullets,  WAY too easy.  Bullets now measured .356-.357 which put me back to the original problem that .358s totally cured!   IMO, the FCD is the kiss of death for loading coated bullets.  I agree its a band aid, how can you not expect the bullet to be swagged if the bulge caused by it is?  I don't load plated but from what I've seen from those that do,  expect the same issues.  I guess its fine for cleaning up jacketed loads using ANY headstamp brass as you can't swage them down as easy.   New profile bullets and scrapping junk headstamps cured all my problems.

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You might double check to see if the problem is isolated to one headstamp. Internal dimensions can vary among different headstamps and so a plunk test with the brass alone won't pick that up.

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I load thousands of 147s for TF and CZ, your problem is the depth required to meet OAL requirements. CBC brass is the worst offender when seated deep because of the rapid thickening of the brass. I did not read which bullets your using, but the 147 FP profile and the PD. FMJ RN both will load at 1.14 and plunk test successfully. 
 

.356 works better than .357 although using the 147 FP from Precision Bullets in .358 worked just fine also. 
 

No need for the Lee FCD to make them work BTW

 

Good luck, lots of advice here and the challenge of making good rounds is part of the hobby. 

Edited by HesedTech

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Just ran into something similar - but turns out mine was BECAUSE of the Lee FCD. I was getting rounds that were snugging that last little hundredth or two in the hundo gauge - and usually the slide right in and out. I noticed a small ring right at the bottom of the case. Some were worse than others. This was on sorted brass - all F.C. headstamp. Almost all of them snug, some of them wouldn't gauge at all. I thought it was my sizing die maybe not going down quite far enough. So I marked a few and pulled it after every station. Turns out it was my crimp, which is a Lee FCD.  I had another one in a spare toolhead. I swapped them out, and cleaned out the 'problem' one. It had a ton of crap built up around the carbide ring. Like enough that I was embrassed I had let that much accumulate without cleaning them before.  Rounds in the new one are perfect and slide in and out. I haven't swapped them back out to see if cleaning out that carbide ring fixed the old one or not. These are 147 gr Precision FPs.

 

Since you don't have an FCD - maybe check your sizing die.

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I have had great success with a Lee FCD in the past.  I would offer my observation, it does make the press run “rough”, I guess because you are sizing the brass twice...??

 

like I said, it worked for me

Edited by Butterpuc

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I have had great success with a Lee FCD in the past.  I would offer my observation, it does make the press run “rough”, I guess because you are sizing the brass twice...??
 
like I said, it worked for me


I give all my pistol brass a quick spritz of Hornady One Shot before loading.

Really smoothed our the loading process.

Doesn’t require removal after loading.

Cheap and one can will last a LONG time.

Can’t recommend it enough.


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Because you may size the bullet and case somewhat, if that happens, the bullet will remain the same size and the case will expand back slightly.  If that happens the case will not be gripping the bullet tightly enough and it's possible it could be driven further into the case when chambering.  Might not raise the pressure enough to cause any harm but could affect the accuracy.

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2 minutes ago, iflyskyhigh said:

 


Why?


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Because it introduces problems from swagging bullets down as discussed.  With coated, even if the loading /gauging operation appears to go well,  you will then be chasing leading problems from the now undersized bullets. 

 

Bullet bulges case at base from hard contact

FCD flattens bulged case

Inside of case resizes bullet

 

Easy enough.  Better to minimize case bulge with better thought out process and scrapping some brass than this, no?

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Again, thanks to all for the input... interesting how this thread turned into an "OCD on FCD":eatdrink:

Have one arriving today from Amazon ($16.99)... Will try it and see what happens

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i had an FCD in the past and I stopped using it...i forgot why though...but i remember it was bring a pain in the a$$...i do use the U-die.  

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I leave a CFC die in my 9mm press.  I have hardly ever seen it to burnish the case over the bullet, even a coke bottle 147, the contact is near the head where the taper and radius of the Dillon die don't touch. 

I only use a CFC die for light jacketed or plated .45s.  It will go bumpity bump over the bands of a cast bullet.  We shall see if it is necessary for 200 gr Xtremes. 

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Again, thanks to all for the input... interesting how this thread turned into an "OCD on FCD":eatdrink: Have one arriving today from Amazon ($16.99)... Will try it and see what happens

 

 

This is what always happens when anyone suggests a Lee FCD. It’s like the 3rd rail of reloading.

 

I’ll start this post with I’m sorry. Sorry for the length. Sorry for hijacking your thread. Sorry if I didn’t offer the best advice in the best order.

 

Now that’s out of the way...

 

I’ve never had any of the issues stated previously. I don’t load coated, or lead bullets...any more. But when I did, I don’t recall having any of the issues described.

 

I think I said earlier I don’t load plated any more, but then I remembered, I still load plated 147gr RN for my suppressed pistols and suppressed PCC SBR. I have a mix of RMR and Frontier plated 147’s.

 

I load so many rounds, I forget what I have loaded. I pulled a few of those rounds, which I have ALWAYS run through the Lee FCD, because I thought “sh*t, maybe I’m wrong”. No swagging. No over crimp. Plenty of neck tension. And I’ve shot thousands of those rounds. Accuracy is amazing. In fact that’s the only reason I’m still loading plated bullets at all. The 147gr RN is the only plated projectile that I could get what I felt was good accuracy from. I was less than impressed with plated bullets in all weights and calibers. I have switched over to JHP and FMJ in everything else. But that’s another post.

 

I for sure have accidentally over crimped a bullet before, but you can do that with any die. Part of the learning process.

 

I’m also in no way saying you’re wrong if it happened to you. Just saying that it can and does work, even if it didn’t work for you. And yes, if you running .358 bullets into it in loaded thick walled cases, I can see how that would present some issues. But I would think a rational person would understand why that is, and that it doesn’t mean the die doesn’t work or doesn’t work as intended. That’s like smashing a thumbtack with a hammer and then being confused as to why the thumbtack is crushed.

 

That all being said, I think most reloaders on here take the view “it didn’t work for me so it for sure is not going to work for anyone”.

 

I take the opposite stance. It does work for me but that doesn’t guarantee it will work for you.

 

It’s just a suggestion and another tool to try in your reloading toolbox. There are for sure tolerances within these dies, and Lee is not know for holding the tightest tolerances. Not to mention several other variables at play. Brass, bullets, press, barrels, throats, leads, lands, firearms....

 

I also agree with much of the other advice given on this thread. First and foremost, you will probably need to shorten you COAL for 100% reliability. I probably should have suggested that first, but I’d still try the FCD in addition too. It’s a great tool and I think it really shines when reloading mixed range brass in 9MM.

 

And for sure pull a couple test test rounds. Make sure the bullet has enough tension, and that it’s not swaging your bullet, nor over crimping plated bullets. Over crimping plated bullets can drastically reduce accuracy and cause the plating to separate from the projectile. Ask me how I know.

 

And lastly, then I swear I won’t post again, this thought of “improving your process”...I’m not saying it’s without merit, but if you have been reloading for a decent amount of time and have a pretty good grasp on what’s happening (which admittedly can take years) there aren’t a whole lot of things to change. Reloading isn’t rocket science. There are only so many things that can be “fixed”. If your sizing die isn’t set correctly that can lead to issues. I guess you can over or under seat a bullet. Over or under crimp. And primer seating? But those are all reloading fundamentals.

 

Really the only other thing to do is sort brass. Which I’m never gonna do. It’s obviously personal preference. But I have neither the time nor the desire to sit in front of 5 gallon buckets full of 9MM and hand cull brass. I have a life, and would rather be shooting...or doing a million other things. I don’t even think that I’d do that if I was retired. Just sorting brass by caliber is mind numbing and monotonous with sorting trays. I just can’t fathom turning brass over and staring at headstamps.

 

My time is worth money and I’d just buy new brass if I was having that much trouble.

 

OR I’d just get a Lee FCD!

 

 

 

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I use a Lee FCD to reload Blazer 9mm brass with 165gr .358 coated  bullets for my 929.  Since it’s a revo I have to overcrimp which leaves a cannelure type ring in the coating.  So I’m doing so much wrong -Lee 9mm FCD with overcrimping to boot.

 

no leading nor  accuracy issues.  It’s perfect 

 

I did recently change to a Lyman M neck expander (.358 die) in place of the sizing/de-cap die on my 650.  All my brass is pre-processed and sized separately.  The press runs smoother and getting less shaving of the odd round that I used to get. It is creating a bulge that the FCD smooths out.

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I use a Lee FCD to reload Blazer 9mm brass with 165gr .358 coated  bullets for my 929.  Since it’s a revo I have to overcrimp which leaves a cannelure type ring in the coating.  So I’m doing so much wrong -Lee 9mm FCD with overcrimping to boot.

 

no leading nor  accuracy issues.  It’s perfect 

 

I did recently change to a Lyman M neck expander (.358 die) in place of the sizing/de-cap die on my 650.  All my brass is pre-processed and sized separately.  The press runs smoother and getting less shaving of the odd round that I used to get. It is creating a bulge that the FCD smooths out.

 

 

Alas!

 

I knew I didn’t have the only functional FCD!

 

I feel better.

 

I love the M dies. I load 220gr coated lead for my 300 Blackout Subsonic. Couldn’t do it with the M die. So I guess I lied. I do still load coated lead. But its for rifle and the Lee FCD for riles works very differently.

 

Sorry, I knew said I wouldn’t post again. I guess I lied twice.

 

 

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I too use FCD.  I load 90% coated rounds , and  I pull test rounds every so often to check the crimping.  It’s not swaging my bullets, I’m not getting any leading, and accuracy has been great.  Other than the issue posted above that was likely self induced, I’ve had no issues with the FCD - and it + the U-Die have markedly reduced my case-gauge failure rate ( again, aside from the now-resolved  issue posted above).  It’s a polarizing subject.  Some people like them.  Some people hate them.   To each their own.   

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Waiting to hear back from OP on the FCD. 

 

In the meantime, add another person to the +side of the FCD discussion.  I use the FCD on my 9mm and .40 setups, no issues note....and yes I've pulled more than 1 bullet of the years (for various reasons) and never noted any distortion of the bullet or scraping of the coating. 

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19 hours ago, OptimiStick said:

It’s not swaging my bullets

 

If it's not sizing your bullets down, then it's not doing anything and a normal crimp die would work just as well. It either sizes your loaded ammo down, or it doesn't. Of course if you're using cast bullets that are too small in the first place (like most guys using .355" and even .356" 9mm coated bullets) and are OK with those results, of course you won't notice any difference. Seems like a lot of guys doing this think lead smoke is normal and don't realize the dangers or the cause of it. 

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If it's not sizing your bullets down, then it's not doing anything and a normal crimp die would work just as well. It either sizes your loaded ammo down, or it doesn't. Of course if you're using cast bullets that are too small in the first place (like most guys using .355" and even .356" 9mm coated bullets) and are OK with those results, of course you won't notice any difference. Seems like a lot of guys doing this think lead smoke is normal and don't realize the dangers or the cause of it. 


What if .356 bullets work for them and don’t lead or smoke?



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2 hours ago, iflyskyhigh said:

 


What if .356 bullets work for them and don’t lead or smoke?

 

 

 

Then a FCD may be OK, depending on the die and brass, IF the bullets aren't seated down into the case taper which is very likely with 147gr. But, a .356" bullet will smoke in most 9mm barrels with most loads in my experience. Coated or not. Most barrels I've used seem to benefit from a little larger size, but a FCD is counter productive for that.

 

Exceptions are with a load that makes enough pressure (and soft enough bullet alloy) for the bullet to swell up and obturate the bore, but for minor loads and commercial coated/cast bullets IMO that's the exception rather than the rule.

 

I have and do occasionally use a FCD when a particular situation is right for it; there are certainly situations where it works fine and makes the process easier.

 

 However, when using mixed 9mm brass and heavy bullets seated deeply it's almost always detrimental. Relying on the FCD to fix a case bulge caused by the bullet base is purely a band-aid fix for a bad load combination where the bullet size, seating depth, and case don't work together. Maybe that band-aid fix is adequate for ringing steel, but it's likely to result in reduced accuracy and lead smoke at minimum. 

 

In the worst cases I've had the FCD squeeze the bullet bases enough to push the bullet partly back out of the case. The bullets come out with a mild boat tail and almost no neck tension; that's obviously something to avoid and crimping more is not the answer. 

Edited by Yondering

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I was getting bulged cases when loading 147gr HST's over 5.1gr of N350 in a brass case.   The powder was compressed, and the quicker I seated the bullets the more it bulged near the web of the case.   If I went really slow, less bulge. 

 

I do not have the problem with nickel plated brass, or a a smaller charge of faster powder, like 3.4gr of Titegroup. 

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On 11/14/2019 at 1:52 PM, iflyskyhigh said:

 


What if .356 bullets work for them and don’t lead or smoke?



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Yep. .356 works great for me , no leading, no smoke issues.  30k rounds in that setup and still going strong.  
 

 

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